06/01/2004 1:39 PM ET
One millionth All-Star vote cast
Texas A&M student, Astros fan prefers online voting
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
The one millionth vote has been cast in the Ameriquest All-Star Online Ballot campaign, and there probably could not have been a more fitting person to submit it for a July 13 event that everyone in Houston is waiting to celebrate.
|Minute Maid Park in Houston will be the site of 2004 All-Star Game. (Pat Sullivan/AP)
James Leggett, 18, is a diehard Astros fan and Texas A&M student who quickly used up all 25 of his allotted online ballots to help decide the starters at Major League Baseball's 75th All-Star Game. His voting approach, first and foremost, was to help ensure that the home team will be duly represented during a season in which Astros home attendance is up more than 40 percent over last season.
"It's good to get the national attention we have always deserved," said Leggett, an
agricultural business major who returned Tuesday for summer school. "Houston has always been a hotbed for talent. (Baseball) was always viewed as second to football, but that's changing this year. We definitely have All-Stars."
For being the one millionth voter, Leggett wins the sheer pleasure of being able to lobby his own voting platform to the masses. And while this will be tough to swallow in at least 14 corners of the voting world, it begins with the premise that there is only one league that matters -- at least with a ballot in front of you.
"I've never touched an American League ballot," he said. "I can't stand the Yankees, I don't like the DH, I'm not an AL kind of guy."
But he'll keep Roger Clemens, thank you.
Legett said he has voted the last "six to eight years" and only votes online "because I don't want to have to fill out a ballot while I'm watching baseball."
Below are his National League picks on his latest ballot, with a brief explanation for each.
Catcher: Charles Johnson, Rockies. "Pudge Rodriguez and Javy Lopez are both in the other league now. Brad Ausmus (of Houston) isn't having a great season. This would be my only lukewarm vote."
First base: Jeff Bagwell, Astros. "Bags is playing hurt, he can't throw worth a darn, but he's coming on strong and he just deserves it."
Second base: Jeff Kent, Astros. "He's leading NL second basemen in RBIs, and he's a clutch hitter if I ever saw one."
Third base: Scott Rolen, Cardinals. "He can hit. He's killing us this year."
Shortstop: Adam Everett, Astros. "I'd like to say he is the most deserving, but I'm not sure. It doesn't matter. I voted for him with all 25. He's a
(heck) of a defender."
Outfield: Lance Berkman, Astros. "Nine homers in his last 13 games. He's having an amazing year."
Outfield: Craig Biggio, Astros. "He has a whole new batting stance this year. There's no high leg kick anymore, and he's hitting over .300. You're talking about a leadoff hitter with eight homers, and he is even better in center this year than he was when he first played it last season. He deserves to be an All-Star at three positions." (Biggio has been an All-Star pick at catcher and second.)
Outfield: Barry Bonds, Giants. "Purely the best hitter ever to play the game. We have to get him here to see him in the Home Run Derby, too."
Online balloting for the All-Star Game continues through 11:59 p.m. ET on June
30 and is available now at MLB.com and all 30 club sites. Online ballots also are available in Japanese and Spanish.
Starters for the Midsummer Classic will be announced July 4 on the ESPN All-Star Selection Show, and that will be followed again this year by the popular AmeriQuest All-Star Final Vote to determine the 32nd and final roster selections for both leagues.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.